Imatges de pàgina

chuici, &c. being formed by the combination of the prepositions with i, she. But as this orthography vever was generally practised, it was not thought adviseable to de. viate from the written standards of the language.

Thus liom is freqnently written leam; uirre, uirthi; orra, orrtha; uadhfa, uabhtha, and the like; but, in all these instances, the original and radical sounds are preserved; the only licence being in the use of the adventitious letters.

35. There is a peculiar delicacy and beauty in the use of the increase in Irish, which it is hardly possible to express in any other language. The utmost accuracy is observed, even by the most illiterate native, in thus distinguishing the leading, or most prominent subject in the sentence. Sometimes, in order to mark a peculiar emphasis, the word fein, self, is used instead of the terminations usually added; as, rinne me fèin è, I myself did it.

36. This subject is so very important, that the learner, who desires to become a proficient in the Irish language, should not rest satisfied with the few examples here exhibited; but retrace the declensions, combining nouns, adjectives, and pronouós, in every variety, and marking accurately the distinction of meaning produced by the emphatical increase.

37. Some respectable Irish grammarians represent the inflexions of verbs as much more simple than they are here exbibited; but it is much to be questioned whether, through a too great eagerness for simplifying, they do not occasion more obscurity, than the most tedious examples would produce. The inquisitive student will wish to see the various modes of thought and action fully expressed: and he can conient himself with committing to memory those that are radically different; and which are distinguished by being infected through all the persons

It is proper to observe, that all the inflexions of the perbs, (particularly the terminations of the second and Haird persons plural,) are not equally used, in conmon writing and conversation, throughout every part of Ireland. But, as it would be impossible to specify all the local idioms, it appeared sufficient, to omit only. such words as are obsolete, and to insert such as are understood in general, adopting the best Irish authors as the criterion of propriety.

Some writers on Irish grammar deny the existence of an infinitive, and say that the place of it is supplied by a verbal noun; but this is only quibbling about names; the

U 2


juyfinitive, and participle, imply the force of nouns, in Irish, as in all other languages.

39. These, and the like, may more properly be considered as participial phrases, composed of the infinitive, and a preposition, than as simple participles.

40. This second form of the present tense is the original, and correct one; the first is nothing more than the simple verb, with a prefixed; but they are both very commonly used, both in writing and speaking.

41. In all interrogations, an? is either expressed or understood; sometimes it is pronounced a, on account of the following consonant; sometimes it is entirely omitted, as in the present instance; and sometimes, before b, it is changed into m; as, a mbuailir? wilt thou strike?

42. This form of the preter tense differs from the preceding, in the omission of the sign do. The sign of the preter was anciently written ro, or ad, as well as do; but in modern speaking, and writing, it is very often omitted, and the tense is ascertained by the form of the verb.

43. Instead of raibh siad, in the third person plural, rabhadar was commonly in use some time since; but it is hardly understood at present.

44. These persons are indifferently written biann, or bionn. (See note 10.) This consuetudinal tense, (which some writers make a separate mood), is very much used, in all verbs, to denote an usual or habitual state of acting or being

45. The interrogative an? is here changed into m, for sound's sake, the a being usually omitted. (See note 41.)

46. The second person plural is sometimes written beithi, instead of beidh, ye shall be. 1. 47. In such expressions as these, the relative a, who, is always expressed or understood.

48. Muna is most correctly the sign of this tense.; and mur, which is also used, is nothing more than a rapid and vulgar manner of expression.

49. This also may be written bhias; or, as it is soma times pronounced, bheadhas.

50. Mur is frequently used, instead of muna, in this'. tense, as in the present, negative, subjunctive.

51. These expressions are literally translated, it were good with me that I were; and, it were better with me that I were. Many such phrases are used; as, budh mbian liom, I desire; is truagh liom nach raibh me, I am sorry I am not.

52. The potential can hardly be called a simple mood,

in Irish, as it is always formed by the combination of two or more words. These forms of expression, however, are extremely common, and necessary to be well understood. And, as they are equivalent to the compound moods and tenses of the English, and other languages, it seems proper to arrange them under the title of a separate mood.

53. Many regular verbs might be exhibited as examples, all differing in some minute particulars; but a remarkable proof of that which is chosen being one of the most proper is, that it is the same which has been adopted by Mr. Stewart, in his Galic grammar, published, long since this was written.

54. In these expressions, (as in those noted 47,) the relative a, who, which, is always expressed or understood.

55. The sign do is frequently omitted in this tense; and the personal terminations are seldom used in vulgar conversation. In the Erse, dialect, they are entirely omitted.

to old manuscripts, the termination seam, or siom, is sometinies written in the first person plural; as, do bhuailseam, for, do bhuaileamar, wc struck.

56. To these may be added the preter interrogative, negative, nachar bhuail me, did I not strike? Nar is sometimes written for nachar, by mistake.

57. The second person plural is sometimes written buail-, fidher; and the third person, buailfid. The f, in the first form of the future, is introduced in order to give more strength to the expression; and the termination is written indifferently ead, or id, when the penult ends in a small vowel; as, brisfead, or, brisfid, I shall, or, will break.

But if the penult be broad, ad only is used; as, casad, I shall, or, will twist. There are many verbs, however, which do not admit f in the future.

58. The same observation, with respect to the relative, which is made, notes 47, and 54, is to be continued here.

59. When the penult ends in a broad vowel, the termination of this tense is regularly fainn; as, da gcasfainn.

But more usually a broad vowel is inserted, before inn, to correspond with that in the penult; as, da gcasfainn, or gcasfuinn, had I twisted.

The f is frequently omitted in this tense, except in the second person singular: and the second person plural is frequently used, without the pronoun. The orthography of the several persons is various, in different manuscripts, but still the radical sounds are retained; as,


had I, or if? Da gcuirea- } had we sent.

Dá gcuirinn,
Da gcuirfea,

hadst thou

Da gcurthaoi, or,

or, had ye sent.

sent ; Da gcuirthea,

Da gcuirfithe, ) Da gcuireadh se, had he sent; Da gcuiridis, had they sent.

60. It will be an useful exercise for the learner, here, to form a number of potential phrases, by combining liom, feat, &c. damh, duit, &c. with such words as those exbibited in these examples.

61. The simple participle is buailte. The termination is somewhat various, in different verbs: see page 66, Formation of the passive voice. Thus, when the last vowel of the penult is broad, the termination is ta; as, casta, twisted; or an i is inserted in the penult; as, brugh bruighte, bruised. When the termination of the imperative is a soft guttural, the t is often aspirated, for sound's sake; as, giorruigh, shorten, giorruighte, or rather giorruighthe, shortened.

62. This termination is often Jengthened by poetic invention, dh being inserted before the last syllable; as, buailfidhear, for buailfear.

63. The preter negative may be formed thus; muna be gur bualadh me; or, muna mbuailfidh me.

64. These verbs nearly correspond, in their nature, to those commonly denominated neuter. But they are not so numerous, as none of them are used to denote any strong exertion, even when the action does not fall upon another object. 65. The observation made on the letter


with respect to the preposition ann, is fully exemplified here, and throughout these verbs. See also page 92, rule 10*.

66. This interrogative can hardly be used, in the first person, but it is exhibited here, for the sake of uniformity.

67. As it has been more than once observed in other notes, there is some variety in this tense, as spoken in different places; thus, Ni choidealam, ni choidealfad, or ni choideala me, I will

not sleep. A gcoidealfad? a gcoidealam? &c. shall 1 sleep? &c.

68. As the potential mood is formed, in these verbs, by aid of the same words that are already exhibited in bi, and : buail, it is unnecessary to repeat it here. It may be almost superfluous to observe, that reflected verbs, implying no action done to another, are incapable of being inflected in the passive voice.

69. Having


69. Having studied the full examples of conjugations, the learner will here see the original simplicity, and remarkable regularity, of the Irish verbs. That the imperative is the root, from which all the other parts are formed, will be evident, on the slightest inspection. The same observation occurred to Mr. Stewart (Galic Grammar, page 82); but it is somewhat singular, that, in giving the examples of the conjugations, he does not place the imperative first in order.

70. The form, do bhuaileadh, corresponds more exactly with the general rule; although do bhualadh is more com

The same may perhaps be observed of some other verbs, but the difference is so inconsiderable, that it does not seem worthy of being noted as an irregularity.

71, 72. When these references were made, for notes, it was intended to insert the observations, which have already been made, at notes 57,

and 59. . 73. In the following tables, as many of these verbs as occurred to the author's observation are inserted. He does not pretend to say, that the lists are complete; but they contain, at least, the greater part of such words; and the learner will easily attain the knowledge of any others, in the course of reading, and speaking.

74. Some of the foregoing verbs may be otherwise formed, in the infinitive; as,

Cosain,- do chosaint,- do chosnamh, defend.
Creid', chreidinheal,-chreideadh, believe.
Musgal,--mhusgailt, ---mhusgladh, awaken.
Treig,--threigmheal,--threigint, forsake.
Tuig,---thuigmheal,-thuigsin, understand.

Samhal,--shamhladh,--shambailt, compare, Note, that t is often added to n, where it might be well omitted; as,

Lean, do leanmhuint, for, do leanmhuin, follow. 75. This, with the three foregoing blank references, is intended to point out words, in which there is some deviation from the general rules. But these irregularities are more owing to local idioms, than to any radical variety of expression; and they are noted here, that the learner may not hesitate in generally inflecting all verbs, according to the common rules.

If the imperative tioman, drive, were used, there would be no irregularity in this verb, in which the "a" is the leading and radical vowel.

76. It has been justly observed, by General Vallancey, that “ from the description given of the irregular verbs,


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